Photo of homemade soup in a bowlMay your holidays be bountiful enough that you will end up with leftover turkey! But after you’ve given the dog his fair share, what to do with all that leftover meat? Americans typically waste about 35% of a turkey, not to mention all the resources that went into raising that turkey. Here’s an interesting article on how much gets eaten and how much goes in the bin.

So use every last bit of that leftover turkey to make medicinal food! Here’s how to make a bone stock and a rice porridge (also called jook). You could also make this with a leftover chicken or make a vegetarian version by using vegetable stock.

Bone Stock
First, remove all the extra meat to use later. Put the carcass in a large stock pot or pressure cooker with enough water to cover everything (without it boiling over). Add a splash of vinegar or Xiao Xing cooking wine (available at asian food markets) to help pull all the calcium and other minerals out of the bones and marrow. Add some carrot, celery, and fresh ginger slices for flavor. Bring to boil and simmer on low for about 2 hours, skimming the top of any foam. If using a pressure cooker, follow your manufacturer’s instructions to bring up to pressure and cook for about 45 minutes to one hour — long enough so that the bones start to fall apart. Let cool enough so that you can strain this liquid into a large glass bowl and refrigerate. Skim off any fat that solidifies on the top. You can freeze this for later use.

To make the jook, add 1 cup of rice to 10 cups stock — you can cut this in half if you’re cooking for just one or two people. At this point you can add slices of ginger or pre-soaked and chopped herbs*. Bring to a boil, then simmer gently for about 45 minutes to one hour, stirring every few minutes to make sure it doesn’t stick. The consistency should be a bit thinner than oatmeal when you’re finished. Add in the leftover meat you pulled off earlier and season to taste with salt, soy sauce, or tamari. Grate in some fresh ginger if desired, then ladle into bowls and top with minced green onion. Try adding some kimchi on the side or a poached egg with crumbled bacon on top.

This makes a rich and very easily digestible breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is especially good for people currently dealing with or getting over an illness.

*To augment the healing properties of the porridge, you can add dried shitake mushrooms, red chinese dates (which must be pitted before chopping), and dried chinese yam (shan yao) — all available at asian food markets. Just soak these overnight, rinse them, and chop them finely before adding them at the beginning of the porridge cooking process. You can also give us a call at Blue Sky Acupuncture Studio and we will happily put together a customized bag of medicinal food-grade herbs for you to cook into your porridge.

Wishing you health and prosperity for the holidays and new year,

Victoria and Priscilla